Bylau Adhemar, "1st national Barcelona (2004)"

Adhemar Bylau from Mater-Oudenaarde
The small fancier beats them all.


Barcelona 2004 is over and decided. There are winners and losers, just like every year and just like on any other flight. But Barcelona is indeed special. The winner will be remembered forever and the ones who didn’t win can comfort themselves: “ it was a difficult Barcelona... too much rain... wind... and so on. But the winner takes it all and for the rest of the racers it is waiting until Barcelona 2005. One of the winners is Adhemar Bylau from Mater. This courageous, simple fancier has had a day of his life and his comment is: “ I had a chance to experience it now on my own skin and if you look at it as a sport succes I would like to experience it again. BUT all that upheaval that comes with the victory I don’t want to experience ever again. I get 38 phone calls per day. People, whom I barely knew called to congratulate. I had several friends in the club, but now everbody seems to be a friend. No, this is just too much and I hope it will soon be over. I begin to feel my 76 years!”
I visited Adhemar on Wednesday after that busy weekend. He was clearly still overwhelmed, longing for some anonymity and hoping that I would be the last journalist. “Adhemar (what a beautiful name by the way), please tell me your story again.”

This small village in East Flanders is a part of a town called Oudenaarde. ‘In the middle of nowhere’ I finally found the small house of Adhemar Bylau and his wife. I didn’t see a loft anywhere, but that was to be explained later.
Adhemar started with the pigoens after the World War II in 1946. He was born in Ypres but moved to Ukkel in 1958 where he became a police inspector. To be able to wind down after a busy day at work, he kept racing pigeons. Back then he raced only sprint. “ If you raced Noyon, you would already be called a long distance racer. Adhemar got rid of his pigeons in the eighties, because he was fed up with it. On February 1, 1988 Adhemar retired and moved to a calm environment in Mater. This was an excellent opportunity to start racing pigeons again. Adhemar wanted to race long distance this time. He didn’t go to buy from the most famous names, he got several long distance pigeons from the father-in-law of his daughter and from a several friends. He decided to put all his energy in two flights: Barcelona and Limoges yearlings. Thus, since 1990 he has been racing the Spanish flight.

Adhemar proudly lets us see his complete Barcelona results:
1990 2 basketted 46th local
1991 2 basketted no prize (first nominated returned home wounded)
1992 2 basketted 4th local ( the wounded one form last year provided for this result and is in the breeding loft to this day)
1993 4 basketted 12th local
1994 2 basketted 6th and 21st local
1995 2 basketted 31st local
1996 none have returned
1997 3 basketted 4th , 18th and 78th local
1998 4 basketted 4th and 21st local
1999 4 basketted 22nd local
2000 4 basketted 73rd local
2001 6 basketted 69th and 74th local
2002 4 basketted: no pigeon returned
2003 6 basketted 48th and 79th local (but the clock has broke and this prize didn’t count)
2004 7 basketted 1st local (5.18) – 10.34-12.26


Adhemar set this alarm clock for a little before 5 a.m. The night before he went out with his wife and after they came back he still went to take a look in the loft, but no, there was nothing to see yet. Then in the morning he first went to feed the chickens when he saw a blue pigeon sitting there. Adhemar thought it was a young pigoen that arrived later after the flight from the day before, but when he came a bit closer, his heart strated to beat very fast. It was the one from Barcelona. The small blue cock was clocked at 5:18 a.m. Everything was announced as it is supposed to be and that is when the whole merry-go-round has began. His "blue" flew 1290.80 m/minute and beat 12.274 pigoens only to be passed by one of Vrosch-Meijers (NL).
This blue cock is very soft in your hand. He doesn’t have a strong back but he has very nice wings and good long muscles. To be honest, he doesn’t look like much like a standard pigeon, but this, of course, is not essential to win the Barcelona.
The father of this cock is ‘4604493/94’. Adhemar got him when he was a youngster from his friend Devos L& G from Oudenaarde. He comes from the 4149120/93, who was 206th national Limoges (bred from Moustache x 151/90, Vanbruaene and Brouckaert strains) X 507/92 (Van den Broucke x Devooght). Unfortunately, in 2004 the cock lost his fertility and he was completely worn out. The good news is that Adhemar still has several brothers of the winning pigeon.
The mother is 4414265/00. She is a daughter of Barcelona II (had twice a prize at Barcelona and comes from the strain of Troncqua Norbert) X 202/98 (strain of A. van den Ouweland (NL) and Brouckaert via Devos).

The care
Adhemar could be refered to as a small fancier. In his backyard he has a smal garden loft (see picture), in which on one side are the widowers and the young pigeons are on the other side. In the small barns are boxes with widows and a tiny breeding loft. A foreign visitor asked Adhemar where the loft stood. Adhemar still laughs at it…because the man was standing next to the loft when he asked it!

The breeders (eight couples) are put together early, but the young pigeons as not raced a lot. They are trained well and they race distances up to 220 km. When a young cocks become a yearlings – only cocks, because Adhemar doesn’t race hens – they are raced on widowhood. The yearlings (7) and the old pigeons (7) are coupled at end of March or beginig of April. After several days of sitting on eggs begins the widowhood racing system. Every mornig at seven o’clock and every evening they train for an hour. “Several weeks before Barcelona I release the older pigeons a bit earlier to give them a head start on training when the yearlings are released” tells us Adhemar. During their widowhood all cocks are kept in their boxes and thus receive their feed and drink separately. In this loft there is also a curtain over the window to dimm the light. Adhemar closes the curtain for the night to prevent light from the street from shining into the loft.

The feed consists in 50% of sport mixture and in 50% of barley. The last days prior to basketting is it 100% sport and a bit of extre maize. Adhemar does not show the hens before basketting, even the dish is not shown. He gives a “pil of souvereignity” at the time of departure and he adds Dulcovit vitamins and beer yeast into the feed. But there is no firm system for this. Sometimes is it every week and sometimes he doesn’t do it for several weeks. Simply whenever he thinks about it.
All yearlings go to Limoges and all old pigeons go to Barcelona. After the season (after Limoges) can the best cocks sitt on their eggs and then is the season over“ says Adhemar. But this will not be the case for you this season, my friend! There are still some exciting events ahead of you. I’d like to say: “Enjoy it Adhemar, because you have beaten them all”